10/7/10

Vito Lopez Accused of Election Fraud

Looks like State Assembly Member and Brooklyn Democratic Committee Chair Vito Lopez, already the subject of 3 investigations, has racked up another one.

Poll workers at 2 Bushwick polling sites located in Lopez-affiliated centers allege election fraud on Primary Day last month.

A poll worker at Hope Gardens Multi-Service Center charged that other poll workers hired by Lopez let home health aides working for Lopez-affiliate Ridgewood-Bushwick Senior Citizens Homecare Council take seniors into the voting booth and mark their ballots for Lopez.

The source, who understands Spanish, accused a poll worker hired as a translator of telling seniors in Spanish who to vote for.

Under the state election law, seniors can take another person into the voting booth to help mark their ballot, but the assistant is not allowed to pressure the senior into voting one way or the other.

According to poll workers, the building manager at a second polling site in a Lopez-affiliated retirement home on Himrod Street was campaigning for Lopez inside the site and filling out ballots for absent seniors.

Lopez, as state committee chair, has the power to hire poll workers, and often taps employees at Ridgewood-Bushwick for these patronage jobs, which pay from $200 and $300 for a single day's work.

A lot of polling sites in Bushwick are located inside senior centers or senior housing managed by Ridgewood- Bushwick, making it easy for hired "minders" to get seniors to the voting booth.

Not surprisingly, Lopez won at the Hope Gardens polling site by about 90%, and the Himrod Street site by about 89%.

The article from the Brooklyn Paper.

The latest buzz is that the Brooklyn D.A. doesn't seem too interested in following up allegations that Vito is living in Ridgewood, where his girlfriend has a condo [Daily News.]

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